„My Jäm, my heart, my custodian …

“… I may fight for you one more time, for one more delay that we can use”

Freya to Helmuth James von Moltke, 1944/1945

 

By Ayse Kizilkulak 

It is a March evening. Even though the spring makes itself remarkable, a cold wind still tries to be present as if everything lies in between: Cold and warm, winter and spring. However the clear sky full of stars lies over Krzyzowa and takes away the feeling of time and space. The little walk to the house on the hill takes a little while and the march through the darkness gives a mysterious feeling. The thought that this little village has been here for decades even for more over a century arises, pictures flash into the mind during walking, how German inhabitants might have worked and lived here and how the history leads to current time and the polish population. The little walk to the house on the hill on this March evening has some mystery in it still when we stand in the very room where Helmuth James von Moltkes family lived. Where their little children Konrad and Casper von Moltke played on the ground on Christmas. Where the plans for a new Germany after the war were made by the Kreisauer Kreis, the Kreisauer circle.

We begin to lighten up candles, the room darkened. The warm light of the candles gives a feeling of a story telling time. Like one of those evenings you just sat down and your father or grandfather told you their old stories. And yes. The stories which the final letters between Helmuth James von Moltke and his wife Freya von Moltke tell gives this atmosphere: Which story – a love story? Rather a story of farewell? Maybe both. The room becomes more and more a mystical place where history begins to get alive. The shadows of us flickering on the walls become witnesses of the story between Helmuth James von Moltke who is lovely called Jäm by Freya, his wife, in his very last months of living. Being held captive in Tegel Prison in Berlin for several months not knowing when his final execution will take place the resistance fighter Helmuth James von Moltke exchanges letters with his wife – secretly with the help of his friend Harald Polchau who smuggles them. The voices reading the letters arise. Freya and Helmuth begin to speak.

Sometimes it seems as if you were my heart that continues to beat strongly and calmly no matter what happens…” he writes on 26 November 1944, almost 2 month before his death and “Goodbye and auf Wiedersehen”, he writes two month earlier, not knowing when the final execution will happen, “my dear heart, God willing, in this or in the next world. Keep yourself whole and unbroken, even when I am gone” he tries to strengthen his wife.

The letters are full of warm emotions and last love confessions. Helmuth tries to prepare his wife a life without him by trying to give her strength with his words.

But also Freya tries to prepare his husband for his very last moments of life and tries to take away his fear with her lovely warm words. “Of course you fear the date, my dear … but I know with God’s help you can overcome it…” she writes him on December 1944.

The reading continues. For a very brief moment the letters give the impression of an almost normal conservation as if there is a little hope. The content is not about the final moments and the death. But then again every next letter is written as if it could be the last one.

Finally the last letter is spoken, on the day of death 23 January 1945: “Farewell, my heart. May the Lord protect you and us both” …

 

Silence.

One last photo of the moment taken.

As we blow off the candles the mystic atmosphere seems to disappear with the smoke of the candles. A few words exchanged we set off for the “home” walk.

The destiny of Helmuth James and Freya accompany us with the walk back in the darkness.

A warm, thoughtful emotional letter reading evening ends. And again we see the timeless big sky above us which must have seen all the terrible things which have happened everywhere, here and there, now and then and after all it feels like we are a very little part of this big worlds history.

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